Keeping Your Pet’s Microchip Information Up-To-Date is Essential

If you want to be proactive about saving your pet’s life, regular veterinary visits, pet insurance and keeping a cat indoors only are certainly high on the list. But the most powerful tool of all could be about the size of a grain of rice: a microchip.

Sometime over the past month or so, HomeAgain, a lost pet recovery service and microchip provider, reunited their one-millionth pet with the owner. (It was a challenge to tell exactly which pet was the one-millionth recovered because so many pets are found through HomeAgain — about 10,000 each month!)

Sadly, one in three family pets will get lost during its lifetime, and without identification, around 90 percent will not return home.

The Baumgardner family, of Lompoc, CA, lost their Pekeapoo, Chewie, two years ago. Ultimately, a microchip made reunification possible, but it took a while.

While the family was living in Arizona, Anita and her husband went out to dinner one evening, leaving Chewie and Jack, a Cocker Spaniel/Labrador mix, at home with the couple’s then 18-year-old son, AJ, and daughter Gaby, 13.

Jack likes to open doors, and as AJ snoozed on the sofa, the pooch slipped out the front door. While Jack strolled only a few feet away to catch some sun, Chewie zipped past him and kept on going.

“When we returned home, we searched the neighborhood, but it was already dark,” says Baumgardner. “We assumed in the morning Chewie would find his way home.” That never happened. The family notified HomeAgain, called local shelters, a local pet store and Chewie’s groomer, all to no avail. Time went by, and eventually the Baumgardners moved to Lompoc, CA.

“We all knew Chewie might have been hit by a car, or who knows what,” says Anita. “The hope was that maybe he was picked up by another family who just didn’t check to see if he had a microchip.”

Having a microchip alone is of little value. It’s like having a cell phone without a phone number. Pet owners need to register their contact information with the microchip provider and keep it up to date. Anita did provide new information when the family moved. In April 2012, she received a call from HomeAgain stating, “We have your dog.”

“I told them, ‘you must be mistaken. My dog is right here,'” Baumgardner recalls, referring to Jack.

“No, it’s Chewie,” said the caller.

“Well, this was two years later. I nearly fell out of my chair,” Anita recalls. It turns out Chewie had been spotted walking along a road and was picked up by a good Samaritan. The pet lover did the right thing, having Chewie scanned for a microchip at a local shelter. Because his registration information was up to date, HomeAgain was easily able to contact Anita.

Family members promptly headed to Arizona to pick up Chewie. Shelter staff said that even before Anita and Chewie were reunited, the dog heard Anita and clearly recognized her voice – even after two years. The reunion was joyous on all sides.

“Chewie looked pretty good. He’d even gained some weight, though he had a few missing teeth,” says Anita.

No one knows exactly where Chewie was for two years; perhaps he’ll write a “tell all” book.

Gaby was especially elated about the reunion. She posted photos every day for weeks on her Facebook page.

“Our dogs are a part of our family, and very important to us,” says Anita. “I think most people feel that way, which is why I’m such an enthusiastic supporter of microchipping.”

Of course, without this service, many of the one million animals recovered through HomeAgain would have been euthanized.

“Our family is sure grateful,” Baumgardner says.

For more information on microchipping, consult your veterinarian.

36 Responses to “Keeping Your Pet’s Microchip Information Up-To-Date is Essential”

  1. Julie Sargent says:

    I was looking for an actual gps microchip and your site came up on my google search as such. Is there such a thing? I want to know if there is an app for this.

    • I have seen something at the Pet Expo in Orange County called the “Pet Tracker Tagg”
      That might be what you’re looking for


    • Darryl says:

      There is no such device. There is no way to power it yet. I suppose one could make a limited power one for a one time track, but it would run out of juice real quick. Not to mention the heat issue. You would burn the dog tracking it.

      The ones online claiming to be a gps tracking chip, are just a microchip that comes with a collar that is the actual gps device. It might work in a short time frame if the thrives didn’t take their collar off.

      • pamalaya says:

        you are wrong darryl

        • Amanda says:

          Pamalaya, do you know of one then? Please share the information instead of just saying someone is wrong.

          • Brian says:

            TaGG was purchased by Whistle and they make GPS devices for dogs and cats. They use a base station relay that makes the battery last longer when they are in the home zone. I have 2 in use for my animals and the mobile app / web management of the devices works great.

  2. amanda hill says:

    We r buying 2 puppies from utah. Its seems kinda odd. They gave us the microchip number can I look it up to c if it matches the dogs

  3. Alyson says:

    I adopted a dog a year ago from a family that couldn’t take her when they moved to a home that didn’t allow her breed. My kids and I have become very attached to the dog, but now the family thinks they can slip her into the home without the management finding out. They had her microchipped several years before and it has their name and old number and address attached to it. Being as they moved several states away I wanted to see if I could change the info on her microchip so they can’t take her back. I’m worried that they’ll be caught trying to take her into their home and then have to give her away to another family, and the cycle will repeat again.
    I don’t know what else to do, but I don’t want them to take her away.

    • Connie says:

      I had gotten an old boxer off Craigslist about 7 years ago, when I got her, the girl stated that she couldn’t afford to feed her any longer, it was beyond obvious! I immediately to her to my vet, she was 8 years old, and should have weighed around 70 pounds, she only weighed 28. She was microchipped, but due to her extreme malnutrition, the vet reported her to the police for criminal charges. However! Since the dogs microchip was registered to her, the microchip company had to send me papers for the legal exchange, and to have her microchip registered to me. The girl first off, didn’t want to meet me to sign them since there was a warrant for her arrest over the dogs condition, I finally talked her into meeting me to sign it, I should probably add that while I was on the phone with the microchip company, they never once said a single word about a transfer of registration fee!! But when my vet scanned her chip, he informed me I need to get ahold of the humane society because she had an extensive history.I got ahold of them, and of course, since I wasn’t the owner of the dog, it was against the law to provide details of her history, just that she has been scanned into their facility 18 times, and gave me a warning that I needed to get the chip transferred as soon as possible because it was history that really needed to be disclosed to a new owner. I sent in the new registration/transfer papers, 7 months went by, and I kept contacting the humane society to see if the transfer had taken place yet. I called the chip company, and they said I had to redo the papers, which they said they would do immediately, the reason I had to redo the papers is because too much time had passed without me sending in the $500 transfer fee! No way! I couldn’t have the chip transferred to me ever! Because the girl had been arrested and was in for the next 6 years, I wrote and asked if she would resign it, and she hatefully wrote back to me saying I was the reason she was there in the first place! So hope with all you have the transfer fee isn’t anywhere close to that!! Each chip company has different prices and policies, most of them are free I have learned, she had her chipped at PetSmart, so I won’t ever go through them to get my dogs chipped!

  4. Ronna says:

    My dog is Micro chipped and we moved, how do I up-date the information. He was micro chipped in 2010 at SPCA in Sacramento, CA I can not remember the name of the company. I do have the micro chip number.

    • Debbie says:

      You can call Home Again and tell them the microchip number and your address and whatever
      information you want to have the dog registered with Home Again and pay about nineteen
      dollars per year and they will put the dog in their registery. One of my cats came from a
      SPCA in southern California with an Avid microchip. Since my other cats have Home Again
      microchips, I registered my SPCA cat with Home Again using the Avid microchip and
      Avid microchip identification number. Home Again can handle it whatever company the
      origonal microchip is from. All you need to do is tell them the information and pay
      the yearly fee.

  5. Caylah says:

    I have a dog and two cats… I have to get them microchipped because if I lose them I don’t know what I would do… They are everything to me. I am going to get them microchipped ASAP!!! This story inspired me so much, even though I have a really tender heart for any animal. This was an amazing story! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  6. Tomas says:

    Is it possible to just get the chip without putting it in your animal?

    • It is possible to purchase one or more chips from a rescue organization since they purchase in bulk, and often hold micro-chip clinics. They would expect that you would take your animal and the chip to your vet to have it inserted so that your pet would be protected. Keep in mind that this will be a chipping package so your vet should charge little to nothing to insert the chip plus the fact that the chip has cost the rescue a discounted amount since they have purchased large amounts. The only set back is that often they are secondary on the registration and would be notified if your pet was found if you do not keep your contact information up to date, so pick a local rescue and one that is willing to co-operate with you. They probably would be glad to help in order to protect the animal. If you are close to the NC/SC area and have trouble finding one let me know and I will try to help you get your pet chipped if you just need the chipping package.

  7. Kyle Davis says:

    I have a two year old White German Shepherd. She is my life. I love her, and want to protect her the absolute best possible way from theft or getting lost. This is why I am contacting you guys. I am trying to find a GPS Microchip combo, where to get it, how much it was cost and so on. I looked up as much information as possible on the internet, and your website came up. I hope that you are able to help me with that.

    Please contact me with any information. If you don’t have any information, maybe you can send me in the right direction.

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Davis

    • I simply Googled “find my stuff” and found this comparison article. Although it’s not for pets, it might work until there is one specifically for pets
      You can also register at for facial recognition of your dog.


    • Steve says:

      Hi Kyle,
      Since this is a few weeks old you may have already taken action on protecting your precious dog. There is not a GPS microchip available at this time. The problem with having a GPS implantable device is the ability to charge the battery which would be necessary to power the GPS functionality. Plus the battery would likely go dead before you found the pet. There are GPS devices which can be worn on a collar but they cannot replace the value of an implanted microchip. And not all microchips or microchip registries are created equal. You should be sure you have an ISO compliant microchip. An ISO compliant microchip uses a unique 15 digit number, no letters, no spaces, no other characters. You should also use a company that provides a lifetime registration with no update fees, no renewal fees and has the registration database protected with funding which will make sure the registration will remain active even if the parent company goes out of business. I work for such a company called PetLink. Our registration database is We have been a leader in pet microchipping for more than 25 years. We are the largest international microchip provider. Do not use a generic 900 microchip. The cheap 900 microchips are less likely to provide a quality service and the registration are more than 50% less likely to be found. I talked with 4 shelter directors last week who collectively had recently seen 20 pets with these 900 chips. All 20 pets were adopted out to new pet owners because the pet registration could not be found.

  8. Alice Warley says:

    Microchiping is great but there are so many different companies that it could be useless to spend the money. We have 3 dogs with chips. One was chipped by the breeder the other two by our vet. The vets scanner doesn’t work on our Labs chip. The vet told us that his scanner only works on his chips. Same for the others I suppose. Also there is no law, at least in Tennessee, that requires a vet to scan a pet. So if your pet is found or stolen, take to a vet other than yours, or the vet is never told the dog was a stray then the chances of your pet being found with that chip could be 0.

    • Laurie says:

      Don’t most vets register the chip info with the chip company? Both my dogs were chipped with AVID – one at the shelter, the other at the vet’s. Both times, the office handled sending in my paperwork with my address and emergency contacts. All vets have been able to read the chips (we’ve been to at least 6 vets across several states).

      • Not that I’m aware of. They hand you a brochure for registration when the chip is put in. Each manufacturer is different.
        When you move it’s your responsibility to go to their website or call and update the information.

  9. cynthia says:

    what scanners cab be used \to scan your Microchips. thanks you

  10. Veola says:

    I want a GPS implant. Not a tag. And not the homesafe identifier. I want something that will tell me know where my pet is now. I can’t find anything like that. The tags and collars that come with GPS may be good for some but if your dog is stolen then the tag and collar goes in the trash. And the identifier implant is only good if the vet the dog is taken to actually checks the dog and has a wand that reads that particular implant. Really, how many dog thieves are going to take a dog to the vet a say they found it? Unless they ask most don’t check. So to me that chip is useless. Even though all of mine have them. I want something that links up to a device or satellite and tells me where my babies are. Does anyone know if there is anything like that?

  11. I have a microchip put in my Shih Tzu when he was just 18 months old. I need to update information on his registration, but I can’t even find his chip listed on Avid’s site. I am really upet. I paid to have this done, to protect him. I have his papers his microchip number, which one site told me THE MICROCHIP CHIP was not EVEN LISTED..
    I can’t find the company’s REAL SITE, ALL THEY DO IS GIVE ME THE RUN AROUND, did they perhaps sell to another, company?

  12. Dave Sorensen says:

    Anyone know how long these chips last? Any photos of them? size? thanks

  13. Terry Ramos says:

    I was unable to register my pet. Pleas send instructions.

    • What we posted is simply an article about keeping the microchip up to date. We are not the company that sells them or keeps the data. You need to find out the brand of the microchip from the veterinarian who did the implant and go to their website and register it there.

  14. […] What are Microchips? […]

  15. Larry mac says:

    The real truth about micro chipping pets is that the chips costs pennies. The syringe dispenser is actually more expensive. There are at lest 16 different manufacturers, and fact is, if your vet buys so many chips he gets a free scanner. That scanner will ONLY read that brand of chip. So if the dog is found and taken to a vet, he may or may not be able to read the chip. The vet knows, and he has the option to do 3 things. #1 If he can read the chip give you the number #2 if he can’t read the chip, tell you there IS a chip but he can’t read it or #3 tell you NO CHIP.
    He’s not making big bucks if you take the dog elsewhere for treatment etc. So like mechanics when you break down on the side of the road, they are going to take care of you for a price. But don’t expect angelic service at minimal expense. Past that hurdle, you can spend $9 if you buy and do it yourself to $50-60 to get a dog chipped. Only some scanners read all chips.. Usually the one that the City dog catcher has, because if they can identify the owner, he gets the ticket. Revenue enhancement. Once you have the dog chipped – you then need to register the number of the chip with a data base. There is more than one. that can be had $20 from a year to a lifetime. So it’s perplexing and confusing. AND INADEQUATE. Till such time that a organization (AKC or Humane Society) provides a national blanket service accessible to both the public and law enforcement, you’re the looser. The federal government isn’t going to waste their time, no money in it. Remember –follow the money – always. dogs or crooked politics..
    The best possible ID for your dog is to tattoo your social security number on it’s belly. Any police officer can get a translation to a name and address in seconds on his 2 way radio. But we’re missing the overall point. -You don’t need ID if your dog doesn’t get out. Dogs get loose because owners fail to maintain safe confines. My dogs never get out I spent $1700 for a fence 10 years ago.

  16. Stella says:

    Well, ultimately your correct…pet safety is definitely owner responsibility but unfortunately, in my world, $1700. is more than most can afford for an animal fence…or anything else for that matter. But when you’re chosen to become the human of an animal as I was, you don’t really think of the money it may take, just the warm loving feeling that almost blinds you! I’ve had my cat for almost a year now and have managed to pay some outrageous vet bills (4 visits, 2 of them major, in the first 2 months after I got her) including hernia surgery and pneumonia. She now has a chip, which costs me 9 per month, eats good food, snacks more than I do and has enough toys for 3 cats, cat tree, cat condo, multiple scratch pads, pet fountain and finally an outdoor enclosure to keep her completely safe. NOT including vet bills, my total cost so far? Less than 50 bucks. My point is you don’t have to spend ridiculously, you just need to act responsibly. Clip coupons, call multiple vets before choosing,,, ASK QUESTIONS! there are a surprising amount of free clinics and other services available almost everywhere. DIY! You can make a toy out of almost anything…one they’re more likely to play with than a store bought one, but if they don’t like it, you’re not out any money. Cat tree and condo… Again, DIY! So many options and instructions on the internet. And If you think you need that $5000. enclosure from the pet store, look in the newspaper or the internet first and you may find one cheaper or even for free, like I did. 50 mile drive and had to disassemble (and reassemble same day) but totally worth it. Bought new only 3 months prior but their cat was afraid and refused to go outside. So one divorce and house sale later, I get to take a much needed road trip and my cat gets to terrorize the birds from a safe place. Of course money is greatly helpful but not completely neccesary, as even the poorest of people love their animals and do what they can to protect and provide for them, just as you do, but with smaller wallets. Trust me, my cat doesn’t love me for my money…she just loves me!

  17. Linda says:

    I do animal rescue and try to keep up with researching and I know there is no public microchip with gps right now as I do know there is supposed to be one being used possibly by the military for their dogs, I may be wrong but was told by someone who was in the military… I am going to research it and see what I can find out. They are trying to fine tune it and see how well its stability is and how well it works in various situations and conditions.

    I also know there is supposed to be in I believe it is Canada a similar thing for people with Alzheimer etc to track them if they wonder off.

    I microchip all animals I rescue, and if I get a lost dog in and it does not have microchip and I find the owners I offer to microchip for free so next time it will be quicker to find the owners.

    And another thing I learned, some of the veterinarians in my area do not scan animals for microchips unless asked. I feel they should be doing it with all animals people bring in that are new to their family and that were adopted or purchased from someone else to make sure they have not got a stolen animal which is way too often in Minnesota for sure.

  18. […] Microchip Information: Most guide dog schools microchip their dogs, linking either directly back to the school of origin or to the animal’s owner. Check with your school or the microchipping company to ensure they both have your most up to date contact information, including your correct phone number. […]

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